Police Officer White provided the nation with a much need reprieve from police violence stories. What did we learn?
Last week, Officer Bobby White AKA “The Basketball Cop” from the Gainesville Police Department provided the nation with a welcome reprieve from the long list of police abuse cases we’ve heard so much of in the media. In an encounter that could have gone completely wrong, the script was flipped and instead a positive encounter with a happy ending was created.
What Officer White did should be the norm but sadly it is not. How do we know it’s not the norm? Well the national fanfare indicates that it was unusual. The deep emotion that makes us tear up when we watch the video indicates that it is not. In fact, as the nation held its collective breath and watched as a police Officer did not bully or abuse his power, or threaten or kill an unarmed black youth, we let out a collective sigh of relief, and after the tears of joy, we cheered, and rightly so.
The truth is, both citizens and officers are safer when police like Officer White patrol communities. The National Institute of Justice reports that, “Factors such as the officer’s demeanor and perceived fairness play a role in determining whether community members are satisfied with their encounter, whether they will trust and work with the police in the future, and whether they will be inclined to obey the law themselves. Finally, research on victims of crime underscores how negative, unsupportive reactions from law enforcement professionals can inhibit crime victims’ psychological recovery and reduce the likelihood of future disclosure or reporting to authorities.”
Our goal, in creating the Five-O mobile app is to improve citizen-police relations, by providing a tool for citizens to rate, review and track a history of their interactions with law enforcement officers. We are an unbiased repository for police conduct data and our goal is to maintain positive and negative interactions.
We encourage all citizens to go to our website at http://fiveo.us and register and record all interactions with your local officers. Good officers deserve the positive attention and bad officers should be identified for counseling, retraining or termination. Do your part to foster partnership policing today!